Laura Amero sentenced: Former Windham superintendent receives max jail term for sleeping with underage student and trying to sleep with another boy.
A former Ohio school superintendent was sentenced to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting two teen students when she was a high school principal. The jail term comes despite the educator insisting her actions were the result of mental health issues.
Laura Amero, who was the head of Windham Exempted Village Schools from 2015 to 2017, received the maximum sentence allowed under state law on Monday after the judge dismissed the educator’s claims of mental health woes, the Record-Courier reports.
‘I can’t understand how this keeps happening with teachers, principals, superintendents,’ Portage County Common Pleas Judge Laurie Pittman said of sex misconduct cases involving students. ‘You know you’re going to get caught.’
Amero, 35, of Austintown, stepped down as superintendent in June 2019 following her arrest in April. She apologized in court after pleading guilty in November to two counts of sexual battery and sexual imposition, admitting that she had sex with a 16-year-old student along with trying to get intimate with another boy while she was principal of Windham Junior/Senior High School, WFMJ reports.
Pittman sentenced Amero to 60 months in prison on each of the battery charges, which will run consecutively beginning in April, and 180 days in the Portage County Jail on the imposition charge, to run concurrently with the prison term.
‘Nobody goes into the field of education to hurt their students,’ Amero, who is pregnant, said Monday. ‘I never imagined I would hurt my kids but I did. I allowed lines to be crossed that never should have been crossed.’
‘There was no purpose other than I let lines cross,’ Amero continued. ‘There is no one to blame but myself. I got caught up, I let myself come down to their level.’
‘You didn’t just cross that line once,’ Pittman said before issuing the sentence. ‘You hurt the victims. You hurt the school system. You’ve made a huge, negative impact on the school system.’
Defendant’s lawyer insists superintendent should have only received probation:
In addition to 10 years in prison, Amero will have to register as a Tier III sex offender — the most severe designation, in which an offender must register their address every 90 days — and pay a $500 fine, the Record-Courier reports.
The district placed Amero on paid administrative leave after allegations first arose in April 2019, and she resigned from her role as superintendent in May. She was the principal at Windham High School at the time of the crimes.
As part of a plea deal, prosecutors dropped two misdemeanor charges of victim intimidation.
Amero’s attorney, Joseph Gorman, argued that Amero should have received probation since she confessed and has continued mental health counseling, which will end once she reports to prison April 1. An assertion which would’ve never been entertained had the gender of the predator and victim being reversed.
The former principal, who married in December and is expected to give birth in mid-March, may be allowed to start her sentence later so her child is not born behind bars.
Gorman said Amero plans to appeal her sentence.
Of note, the victims are expected to file civil litigation against Amero.
Unclear is what led to the authority figure abusing her position of trust, power and seeking to subjugate her male victims.